In celebration of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, community leader Tamykah Anthony hosted a fun and educational bingo game night with a dozen kids and their parents in the Queens Public Library at Long Island City on Thursday, Jan. 16.
Anthony, who was recently sworn in as the treasurer for Friends of the Library at Long Island City Library, launched her “30 Days of Black Inventions” curriculum and bingo game in order to highlight the many inventions people of color have created throughout history.
“I did this because I realized that in order for us to get together and do positive things, we have to know where we come from to know that greatness is already in us,” Anthony said.
During the event, Anthony gave kids and their parents a marker and a bright yellow bingo card, which featured images like a pencil sharpener, dust pan, mailbox, gas mask, potato chips and much more. She then gave clues for the players to guess which object was created by the inventor’s names, adding information about their lives and the time period they lived in when they created their products.
In the end, 7-year-old Stanley Skeeter was the first to shout “Bingo!” and win two AMC movie theater tickets. His grandmother, Stephanie Chauncey, said she loved Anthony’s teaching style.
“Black innovators aren’t something that is taught in school,” Anthony said. “We hear about George Washington Carver and the peanut, but we don’t know that almost everything we use on a daily basis was either influenced by or actually patented by a person of color.”
Part of the intimate event was sponsored by local nonprofit Reconstruction of a Village. Sonya Glover, leader of Reconstruction of a Village and community activist, said they are always looking for ways to engage Astoria’s youth.
Glover said Anthony’s MLK event is a way to “feed our children the knowledge” they need to look ahead and for them to learn about their history, because “you can’t go forward without knowing where you came from.”
Anthony is a forensic toxicologist and CEO of Xanthines All Natural Products, a natural line of home, bath, body and hair products. She also recently established a GoFundMe, “A New Home and Future for Camp Wakanda,” to help her raise funds for a space in Astoria, where she’ll be able to grow her after-school and homeschooling programs, as well as provide a community center for local organizations.
As someone who has been and continues to be faced with many obstacles in her own career as a woman of color, Anthony believes that by lifting up her community and showcasing everything good they’ve done for society, they’ll live by what MLK truly stood for.
“We focus so much on ‘I have a dream’ and how he wanted to integrate so badly, but at the end of his term he spoke about how he feels like he may have integrated us into a ‘burning building’ or ‘house’ — meaning that we need to be strong as a people first before we can integrate to anything,” Anthony said. “So I want to bring up those parts of his life too. He wasn’t always like, ‘Let’s integrate with the rest of the world.’ It was more like, ‘We need to instill a sense of pride into our people and the youth and then we can be a part of other things, once we’re strong that way.’”